When building a training curriculum for Law Enforcement, smell training may be quickly over looked as unneeded or maybe even a luxury, especially in times of budget cuts and economic recession. But for Law Enforcement personnel who are subjected, like the rest of us, to the evolution of tactical responses, bringing in innovative technologies like scenting generators into the training arena could be more important than you think.
During Law Enforcement training, students are sometimes required to memorize abstract protocol that hardly ever make it into any real life situations. Yet no matter how rare certain situations are, recalling experience is incredibly important. When smell training is introduced into existing simulations, memorization transforms into response. The skill sets developed in these ultra-realistic, yet dramatized environments, far outmatch any kind of rote memorization and multiple pathways are developed from sensory data to learned responses.
Post Traumtic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D.), a condition that is a major focus in military circles is a concern in Law Enforcement as well. Placing human subjects in highly charged scenarios with the high risk of scenes that could haunt forever, the inoculation of these horrors-that-could-be could substantially lower the cost and needs for treatment after the fact. As the health care field emerges from emergency response to preventative maintenance, the psyche of our Law Enforcement personnel should be held with the same level of respect.
But budgeting for these innovative technologies may seems daunting, especially given the current economic climate. In a recent report from the Justice Policy Institute it was stated that $100 billion is spent annually in Law Enforcement. With the whispers of restructuring budgets for government funded programs, looking at the efficacy of current training methodologies logically follows. But as more speak out with testimonies of a substantially different officer or solider after reality based training, deciding to opt out of utilizing these technologies could be short-sighted.
Have you ever seen groups of children role-playing as “Cops and Robbers”? There is more to this than just innocent play. These are scenarios that will help these children judge and decide how to respond to their own generation of the Bad Guy. Mimicking the same kind of play-for-learning principles in our Law Enforcement training, while closely monitoring efficacy, could re-define entirely what it means to be an officer. And at the end of the day, we just want to catch the bad guys. Right?